All I want for Father's Day is a son who's healthy and happy, living life to the fullest just like Daddy taught him. A son who'll go out and be the best he can be at whatever he chooses to do -- nothing will change the fact that he's my son, and that his Dad will always be proud of him. In fact, he already is.
I didn't know what to expect when I became a Dad. I didn't lack good fatherly figures -- I just had no clue of what the world expected of me. We hear plenty of stories blaming fathers in absentia for children's bad behaviour, society diagnosing a lack of the firm disciplinarian they so sorely needed to keep them in line -- but people rarely talk about what the value of a good father is.
Eighteen years ago, fathers offered moral support with breastfeeding through fetching a glass of water for the wife. Now, things are different. This generation of dads is not leaving their partners' side to go home. Dads want to be involved in breastfeeding, and taking care of their partners and babies.
Seven months later and I'm still stunned by the palpable pain I feel in the pit of my chest when I think of him. I marvel at how grief just patiently sits there quietly, waiting for me to suddenly catch a glimpse of someone who looks like him, or for a whiff of someone's Aqua Velva aftershave, that cheap blue stuff he splashed on his face when I was a kid, and suddenly pain, like a searing knife, cuts through me. Seven months of firsts. The first Christmas without him, first New Years' celebrations, first Easter, and now... the first Father's Day.
Sunday, June 15 is Father's Day -- the one day of the year when the mainstream media and much of the public pretend to actually value fatherhood and the role of a father in the modern family. For the remaining 364 days, the role of fathers in the family is discounted, downplayed, taken for granted or seen as optional. Fathers are attacked by a court system that unfairly and disproportionately refuses them custody of their children. Attacked by the media that all too often, and wildly out of proportion to reality, portrays them as bumbling, villainous or incompetent.
Since the feminist movement, women have openly discussed and debated what it means to be female. This multi-decade dialogue has led to a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of womanhood, and what it means to grow and develop as a multi-faceted woman. A similar dialogue between men about the nuanced intricacies of malehood has been slower to develop.
If your kids see you jostling to get the best shot of the most mundane moments of life, just so that you can post a picture of it on your Instagram account, they'll follow suit. If you post inappropriate images or comments on social media, the will be seen by your children, guaranteed. Limit and moderate your own social media activity.
Having kids is a bit of a crap-shoot. Some people are born parents, others struggle significantly -- and a few (let's face it) can barely look after themselves, let alone another human being. What I think is one of the biggest gambles of becoming a new father, however, is not knowing how becoming a mother is going to affect your partner. It's funny because, the lyrics of Kenny Rogers' famous song, The Gambler, really apply here.
There we sat, changing their outfits, brushing their "hair," with me doing my best falsetto voice, as we all got ready for the prom. My daughter, Kirsten, was giggling at me not so much for the voices, but for the fact she had put a lovely purple bow in my hair that matched Malibu Barbie's hair ribbon. We were having a blast!
If you're a parent, you know that your little darlings may not always be telling you the absolute truth. Yes, it's hard to believe, but kids lie. A lot. Just because you've been lied to by your child doesn't mean that it has to continue. It's you against them when it comes to the truth. You're their parent, so you should win.
Why is it always women who have to explain their choice not to have children? Are men prodded with the same line of questioning and expected to explain this choice like women are, or is it perfectly natural for men to feel unsure about fatherhood? As a newlywed (like, really newly wed) I find it odd that most people direct that question at me. As if to say it's solely up to me or my husband has no say in the matter? Going forward, I'm going to suggest that all inquiries involving the utility of my uterus go directly to my husband. I'm tired of crafting clever responses.